What a joy it is to delight in the sense of well-being and dynamism conferred by running and training. The body is filled with life force, the mind is clear, the heart is happy – even the soul is pleased.
The following little gold nuggets of wisdom are spoken comments offered verbatim by sports lover and fitness advocate Sri Chinmoy, in response to various questions about the role of physical excellence in our life journey. These charming and original insights invite us to be inspired about the limitless potential of the body when harnessed to the aspiration of spirit; to explore the idea of self-transcendence with its urge to surpass previous achievements; and to set goals, dream our impossible dreams then make them a reality. And with the foundation of dynamism and health that running creates, and the self-discipline and self-belief which it encourages, how much your whole life will become a song of joy!
The following texts are excerpted from Sri Chinmoy's writings.
The importance of health
UNLESS YOU TOUCH something every day, it does not shine. Often I have told people to touch the furniture in their homes every day. As soon as you touch something, it gets new life. If you are aware of something, immediately it shines and gets a new luminosity. If you have good health, if you touch your health every day, it gets new life. By giving attention to something, you give new life to it. PHYSICAL FITNESS is of paramount importance. We are not practising sports to be the world's greatest runner or athlete. We are praying to God to keep our body physically fit so that early in the morning we can pray and meditate and begin our day's journey with a prayerful heart. When we think of sports, we think of physical fitness, not physical supremacy. The most important thing in our life is prayer and meditation, and that we cannot do if we are not physically fit.
I ENCOURAGE AND INSPIRE my students to organise and participate in triathlons, long-distance races and short-distance races precisely because I feel that the world needs dynamism. The outer world needs dynamism and the inner world needs peace. We are all seekers; so we pray and meditate in order to have peace. Again, we feel that if we can be dynamic, then we will be able to accomplish much in our outer life. To be dynamic we need physical fitness at every moment, and running helps us considerably to keep physically fit.
IF YOU VALUE THE shrine and everything else that is inside the temple, you will make sure that the temple is kept in good repair. Similarly, inside the body is the heart and soul. The shrine is within. We have to make the body a fit instrument to house the shrine; we have to keep the grounds of the temple in good condition if we care for what is inside the temple. If I do not pay attention to the physical body and keeping the body fit, my spiritual life will suffer and I will not be able to offer you my good will, love and joy in my prayer and meditation. That is why physical health is of great importance.
OUR AIM IS NOT TO become the world's best athlete. Our aim is to keep the body fit, to develop dynamism and to give the vital innocent joy. Our aim should not be to surpass others but to constantly surpass our own previous achievements.
The goal of sports
From the highest point of view, the goal is not to defeat anybody but only to compete with ourselves. When we compete with others, we are never happy. Today I may defeat someone in running, but tomorrow I will look around and see that there is somebody who is far better than I. Our goal is to do our very best and try all the time to compete only with ourselves. But whatever the result, we have to accept it cheerfully. We will do our best and then, whatever result God wants us to have, we will accept.
WE TRY TO SYNTHESISE and harmonise the outer life and the inner life. The outer life is like a beautiful flower and the inner life is its fragrance. If there is no fragrance, then we cannot appreciate the flower. Again, if there is no flower, how can there be any fragrance? So the inner life and the outer life must go together. The body is like a temple and the soul or inner reality is like the shrine inside the body-temple. If the temple does not have a shrine, then we cannot appreciate the temple. Again, if we do not keep the temple in good condition, then how can we take proper care of the shrine? We have to keep the body fit, and for this, running is of considerable help. The body's capacity and the soul's capacity, the body's speed and the soul's speed, go together. The outer running reminds us of something higher and deeper – the soul – which is running along Eternity's Road. Running and physical fitness help us both in our inner life of aspiration and in our outer life of activity.
WE HAVE TO PRACTISE self-discipline. It is by doing something, by becoming something – not necessarily something great or famous – that we can overcome our reluctance. It is through moving – which is progress – and achieving – which is another type of progress – that we can overcome reluctance. In order to overcome reluctance, we have to have a goal and we have to try to reach that goal. By always moving and progressing toward a goal, you not only become a better runner but you also become a better instrument of God. WE HAVE TO KNOW that physical energy has only one source, and that source is spiritual energy. As long as we remain in the body consciousness, we are not aware of this. But when we go deep within, we see that spiritual energy is the source of physical, vital and mental energy. When spiritual energy enters into the physical, it becomes somewhat polluted. It is unable to maintain its pristine purity.
What we need is purity on the inner plane and dedication on the outer plane. Inner purity we can get through aspiration, and outer dedication comes through gradual inner purification and inner awareness. When we have both inner purity and outer dedication, then spiritual energy enters into physical energy, and physical energy at that time becomes an added strength to spiritual energy. IF VICTORY IS THE ONLY GOAL, then athletes can never find happiness, for even if they win today, tomorrow somebody else will come along and take away their glory. Real happiness can never be found in separating ourselves from others. Real happiness comes only in feeling our oneness with others, even if they defeat us.
Regardless of who wins on the sports ground, each one should try to excel in his own life by competing with himself and going forward according to his own capacity to his destined goal. In this way each individual will all the time make progress and achieve greater and greater perfection. True happiness comes only from our increasing sense of perfection which we can achieve only through self transcendence.
RUNNING REMINDS US of our inner journey, which is ahead of us. The goal is ahead and we are running towards the goal. It is a great feeling, which eventually grows into a great achievement.
Playing tennis reminds us of being an instrument. The tennis ball is a self-giving instrument, always trying to please us in our own way. Whichever way we want to strike it, the tennis ball surrenders. It is always ready to listen to us, according to our capacity. So tennis reminds us of a divine goal, which is to become a perfect instrument of God and to please God in His own Way, and running reminds us of our continuous journey along Eternity's Road toward the destined goal. Tennis and running are like two paths going to the same goal; they both ultimately reach the goal, but they reach it from different directions.
We run; we become
At every moment we are running to become something great, sublime, divine and supreme. While we are becoming, we feel that we are in the process of reaching our ultimate Goal. But today's Goal is only the starting point for tomorrow's new dawn. At every moment we are transcending our previous achievements; we are transcending what we have and what we are. By virtue of our self-giving, we are becoming the Beauty, the Light and the Delight of our Beloved Supreme.
RUNNING HAS ITS OWN inner value. While you run, each breath that you take is connected with a higher reality. While you are jogging, if you are in a good consciousness, your breath is being blessed by a higher inner breath. If you are in a good consciousness while you are running, each breath will connect you with a higher, deeper, inner reality.
IF YOU ALWAYS TRY to go beyond, to transcend, then you will have a better speed. Satisfaction is good, but it is also good to have hunger. God has given you an iota of peace, so you are satisfied. But you should want to have more peace. This hunger for something more we call receptivity. You can increase your receptivity. When you come to a particular standard, you have to say, "Is there anything more I can do?" Then do it.
WHEN WE RUN in the inner life, we have to feel that we are not only running against ignorance; we are also running with God. In a 100-metre dash, if one runner is 70 metres ahead of another runner, then the one who is far behind will not have any inspiration to run. But if the leading runner is only a few steps ahead, then the one who is behind feels determined to overtake him. That is why, when God runs with us, He uses only a little of His infinite Capacity. Only then will human beings have the inspiration and aspiration to catch Him and run with Him. God stays only a few steps ahead of us so that He can be seen, felt and ultimately realised.
WHEN IT IS A MATTER of running, all the members of the family – the body, vital, mind and heart – have to work together. It is like a family gathering, a family party. The head of the family has invited all the members to come and eat. If one son comes and another does not, the parent cannot be happy.
Through running, the soul wants to offer a feast to all its children. Its joy will not be complete if even one member – the body, vital, mind or heart – does not participate. What running is doing is keeping the body, vital, mind and heart fit so that the soul can get complete happiness. The soul is happy when it sees that all its children have come to enjoy the feast.
LIFE AND SPORTS CANNOT be separated; they are one. As a matter of fact, life itself is a game. This game can be played extremely well, provided the player develops consciously or unconsciously the capacity to invoke the transcendental energy which is always manifested in action.
In the life-game, each soul is running consciously or unconsciously toward the goal of inner perfection. There is not a single individual who has not left the starting point. Now, one individual may be behind another in the Godward race, but all are making progress and running toward the same goal.
When you enter into the spiritual life, it means that you have consciously begun your inner journey. If you are running consciously, then naturally you will reach the goal sooner than those who are still asleep.
You may want to run toward the goal because you yourself have an intense inner cry. Your inner cry for truth and light and love has increased; so you are running toward the goal. Why is it that in you the inner cry has increased, whereas others are still fast asleep? It is because God has inspired you. It is not that you just come out of your house and decide to run. No, something within you, an inner urge, inspires you to go out and run. And who has given you that inner urge if not our Beloved Supreme?
SPIRITUALITY IS A one-way road that leads you to your goal. Once you have embarked on your journey, you can't go back. The starting point is gone. Once evolution starts on any plane, you can't go back to the initial point. If you are consciously running toward the goal, then naturally you want to get there sooner than the soonest. If you want to run fast, faster, fastest, then you have to simplify your outer life, your life of confusion, your life of desire, your life of anxiety and worry. At the same time, you have to intensify your inner life, your life of aspiration, your life of dedication and illumination.
Purification and illumination are bound to take place at God's choice Hour. At that time, first you will see that the goal is right in front of you. Then you will feel that the goal is within you, and finally you will come to realise that not only is the goal within you, but you are the goal itself. Your own higher self is the goal that your lower self has been searching for.
A GREAT CHAMPION is he who sees and feels that he is a mere instrument of his Inner Pilot and that his Inner Pilot is racing in and through him, according to his own capacity of receptivity. A champion of champions is he whose inner life has become the Vision of his Absolute Supreme and whose outer life has become the Perfection-Channel of his Beloved Supreme.
WITH OUR IMAGINATION-POWER we can challenge the tricky mind and win. We weaken ourselves by imagining that we are weak. Again, we can strengthen ourselves by imagining that we are strong. Our imagination often compels us to think we cannot do something or cannot say something. We often use imagination in a wrong direction. So instead of letting imagination take us backwards, we should use it to take us forward toward our goal.
To a great extent, speed in running starts with the mind. You have to develop more imagination. Imagine that you are running fast and appreciate your speed. Then let the thrill and joy that you get from your imagination inundate you. This joy will increase your speed. You can also think of some people who really do run fast and try to identify yourself with them.
WHILE RUNNING, do not think of yourself as twenty-five or thirty years old. Only think of yourself as being six or seven years old. At the age of six or seven, a child does not sit, he just runs here and there. So imagine the enthusiasm of a young child and identify yourself not with the child but with the source of his enthusiasm.
If you are running long distance, identify yourself with ten or even twenty runners who are ahead of you. Only imagine the way they are breathing in and breathing out. Then, while you are inhaling, feel that you are breathing in their own breath and that the energy of the twenty runners is entering into you. Then, while you are exhaling, feel that all twenty runners are breathing out your tiredness and lack of enthusiasm.
WE CAN PREVENT training from becoming tedious and boring if we keep in mind that running is nothing short of a newly-blossomed flower which we are placing each day at the Feet of our Beloved Supreme. We have to feel that this newly-blossomed flower is our soul's daily awakening, a self-giving reality that each day we are offering to our Beloved Supreme. If we can maintain this experience while running, then we will never find our training tedious or boring.
THE MARATHON IS UNIQUE and it will always remain unparalleled among long-distance runs. Just as the marathon is a long journey on the outer plane, so is spirituality a long, longer, longest journey on the inner plane. Your own spiritual run is birthless and deathless; it is endless. When you run a marathon, you are trying to accomplish on the physical plane something most difficult and arduous. When you do this, it gives you joy because it reminds you of what you are trying to accomplish on the inner plane. As you are determined to complete the longest journey on the outer plane, the marathon, so are you determined to reach the Goal in your inner journey. The one journey will always remind you of the other.
The outer journey will remind you of your inner journey toward God-realisation, and the inner journey will remind you of your outer journey toward God-manifestation.
EVERY DAY EVERY HOUR, is a golden opportunity to become a better instrument of God; it is a life-long process. Therefore, every time one practices, one has to devote and surrender oneself to the Will of the Supreme.
An athlete practices seriously for three or four months, and then during the competition he has to show his capacity. If he does poorly, he may think, "Oh, I made such sacrifices for so many months. Now what a deplorable result!" But it was not a sacrifice. He was only giving for a period of time, and now he is receiving the result in the form of an experience. The seeker who recognises his inner oneness with the rest of the world will not feel sad and miserable if he does poorly. Only he will say, "I did what I could during my practice, and now the result I am taking as an experience. Whether I was first, last or in between, the result has been given to me by my Lord Supreme as an experience."
This kind of experience - both success and failure - is absolutely necessary for everybody in every walk of life. From the spiritual point of view, we say there is no such thing as sacrifice when there is a feeling of oneness. The husband is offering something to the wife, or vice versa. On the strength of his oneness, the husband is doing something for his wife, and on the strength of her oneness, the wife is doing something for her husband. So here there is no sacrifice. I pick up a fruit with my left hand and put it into my right hand, and then with my right hand I eat it. My left hand comes to my right hand, and my right hand comes to my mouth; it is all oneness.
But if you want to separate the different parts of my being, you can say that the left hand made a tremendous sacrifice when it gave the fruit to the right hand, and that the right hand made a tremendous sacrifice when it put the fruit into my mouth. If there is a sense of separativity, there is always sacrifice; otherwise, it is all oneness, all oneness. It is all part of God's Cosmic Game that I do this and you do that. There is no I, there is no you, there is no winner or loser. It is all one reality, a oneness-reality.
A WINNING ATTITUDE, from the spiritual point of view, is a self-giving attitude. If you have a sincere self-giving attitude, then you are more than ready to conquer your own ignorance. In ordinary human life we try to win by defeating others. In the spiritual life we try to win by conquering the unaspiring and the undivine in ourselves. The winning attitude is our eagerness to conquer the qualities that are not willing to progress or that are trying to destroy us.
IF ONE IS A SEEKER-ATHLETE, then before he runs or jumps, before he enters into physical activities, he should offer a few moments of gratitude to his Inner Pilot for inspiring him to become an athlete. An athlete is he who runs, who values time, who values speed and who believes in a goal that ever moves forward. There are millions and billions of people on earth who are not athletes, but he already is an athlete. So if he can offer his gratitude for that, then he increases his receptivity-power.
If he increases his receptivity-power, then he automatically increases his athletic capacity. For it is receptivity that increases capacity. The moment he increases his receptivity, he is blessed with more capacity, abundant capacity, boundless capacity. And to increase his receptivity there is only one way: to offer his gratitude-heart for what he has already become.
THERE IS A GREAT DIFFERENCE between psychic concentration and physical or vital concentration. Psychic concentration is really difficult - much more difficult than physical or vital concentration. It is like the elder brother. But the younger brother can definitely help the elder brother. The concentration-power that you learn from athletics will definitely add to your psychic concentration.
And if someone has psychic concentration as well as physical concentration, vital concentration and mental concentration, then that person can easily be a great champion in the athletic world as well as in the spiritual world.
BEFORE RUNNING, MEDITATION is good to make the mind calm and quiet so that wrong forces do not enter. When you meditate, your mind acquires some poise. Then, while you are running, if you can bring forward this poise, it will help you overcome the mental frustration that often comes while running long distances. When you are running long distances, all kinds of frustrating thoughts will come and make you feel that what you are doing is useless. Or the mind will say, "Oh, this is boring," and you will not want to take one more step. But if you were able to meditate earlier in the day, then you will have acquired some solid inner strength that will carry you mile after mile. Also, meditation teaches you how to empty your mind of thoughts. And if you can keep thoughts out of your mind while you are running, it will help you tremendously - far beyond your imagination. At that time a new creation will be able to dawn inside you, and this will give you added inspiration and receptivity.
THERE IS ONLY ONE limit: how much God wants to reveal Himself through each individual. The only limit is God's Will. God waits and waits and waits. Then, if He sees that somebody is receptive or that somebody has worked very hard, He may do something through that individual.
AS A RUNNER I AM USELESS, but right at the beginning I try to become an instrument and make myself feel that somebody else, my Beloved Supreme, is running in and through me. Right at the beginning of the race I offer my gratitude-heart to the Supreme, and at the end, after I finish the race, I also offer my gratitude. If I can offer my soulful gratitude to my Inner Pilot before the race and after the race also, then there can be no frustration, no decline of aspiration. The aspiration and power of concentration will remain the same throughout the race.
We cannot properly evaluate our own capacity unless we have some standard of comparison. Therefore, we compete not for the sake of defeating others but in order to bring forward our own capacity. Our best capacity comes forward only when there are other people around us. They inspire us to bring forward our utmost capacity, and we inspire them to bring forward their utmost capacity. This is why we have competitive sports.
I HAVE THE DEEPEST admiration for those who participate in triathlons. Swimming reminds us of our spiritual life. Right now we are swimming in the sea of ignorance, but we are praying to our Beloved Supreme and meditating on Him to be able to swim in the sea of Light and Delight.
When we are running, we are reminded of our birthless and deathless journey along Eternity's Road. Then, while we are cycling, we are reminding ourselves of evolution, of how the world is evolving in cycles. When we think of our planet, we think of a wheel turning; our life also is evolving like a wheel. So cycling reminds us of the process of evolution and of how everything goes in cycles. Once upon a time, in the hoary past, we lived in an era of truth. Now we are living in an era of falsehood. There was a time when truth reigned supreme, but now we see at every moment and every place that falsehood is reigning supreme. Our goal is to bring back again the golden age in which truth will be our inner guide and will reign supreme. So cycling reminds us of evolution, inner and outer.
WE CAN THINK OF ourselves as two halves: imperfection is one half, and our sincere cry for perfection is the other half. One side is weakness, and the other side is strength. With our inner cry for perfection, let us run towards our destination and reach the illumination-shore. When our being is fully illumined, then dark, ignorant forces are afraid to come near us. Before we reach the destination, they challenge us. But once we reach the illumination destination, the ignorant forces do not dare enter into us because they feel that they will be totally destroyed. They do not know that they will only be transformed and illumined.
IN THE PAST, people cared for the fitness of the body because they knew that if they had a healthy body, then they would be able to stay on earth longer. If they were spiritual people, they felt that a healthy body would enable them to continue praying and meditating for many more years. Today also we know that if the body is full of sickness, then we will not be able to pray and meditate well. For weeks and months we may suffer both physically and spiritually. We have the body and we have the soul. A spiritual person has to give equal importance to both the body and the soul. If he pays attention only to the body, if he becomes physically strong but spiritually very weak, then for him there will be no peace of mind or inner happiness. Again, if he pays attention only to prayer and meditation and neglects the body, then his body will not be a fit instrument to reveal and manifest God. In the morning he will try to pray to God, but he will have to stop because he has a headache, upset stomach and so forth. If someone does not get any exercise at all, then the physical will remain unlit, lethargic and a real hindrance to the aspirant. If the physical consciousness does not aspire, it will remain separated from the soul. Then rest assured, you will never be able to achieve perfection. The physical has to aspire in its own way to increase its capacity so that it can hold light. Then the physical will contribute to the spiritual and you will be able to aspire and manifest much more. So physical fitness and spirituality must go together. It is like having two legs. With one leg I cannot walk; I need two legs to reach my destination.
NOW, ONCE THE BODY has full faith in the soul and wants to go to the soul directly – without the help of the vital, mind or even the heart – then what will happen? When the vital sees that the physical consciousness all the time is in the soul and the body is radiating light, the vital will become miserable. First it will become jealous; then it will surrender and also go to the soul. Then, once the mind sees that both the body and the vital are with the soul, it will go there also. Then the heart will say, "O my God, I am so stupid. So many times I was with the soul. Why do I not stay there nowadays?" Then it, too, will go. So if the body can keep a direct connection with the soul, then the vital, the mind and the heart will also go. But one of them has to be convinced that the soul is always right. Either the mind or the vital or the body has to be convinced. So if the soul can convince one of the members, then the others will follow.
WHILE RUNNING, when you inhale, you can consciously invoke divine energy to energise you. This divine energy energises the willing reality in you and illumines the unlit reality in you so that you can become a perfect instrument of God. When you breathe in the divine energy, automatically it changes or transforms undivine forces into divine forces. Each time you breathe in, if you can repeat just one time God's Name, or 'Supreme', or whatever divine name or form comes to mind, then that spiritual thought will increase your purity. Either it turns into purity within you or it grants purity to you. Then, when you breathe out, feel that a new eagerness and a new promise are going out from you to the Universal Consciousness. This new promise is nothing short of your sincere willingness and eagerness to become a good and perfect instrument of the Supreme.
OUR INNER RUNNING definitely helps us in our outer running. Through prayer and meditation, we can develop intense will power, and this will power can help us do extremely well in our outer running.
Meditation is stillness, calmness, quietness, while the running consciousness is all dynamism. Again, the runner's outer speed has a special kind of poise or stillness at its very heart. An airplane travels very fast, yet inside the plane we feel no movement at all. It is all tranquility, all peace; and this inner tranquility we can bring to our outer life. In fact, the outer life, the outer movement, can be successful only when it comes from the inner poise. If there is no poise, then there can be no successful outer movement. Poise is an unseen power, and this unseen power is always ready to come to the aid of the outer runner.
THE PRESENCE OF ALL the great athletes at the Olympics represents a great opportunity. When an athlete has to compete with the rest of the world, there is every opportunity and possibility that he will transcend his own capacities. This is what is of paramount importance, and not whether he defeats others or not.
God, the Author of all good, will be extremely pleased with the athlete only when he transcends his own capacities. We are all God's children, God's creation. If one of His children transcends himself, then the Father will be the happiest person. But if one member of the family defeats another member and gets joy while the other person becomes miserable, then where is the Father's joy? If we are one with the rest of the world, then we feel joy in others' joy and their sorrow is also our sorrow. But most of us have not yet attained that consciousness. So it is always advisable for the athlete to keep in mind that he is competing with his own previous record.
If he can transcend his own achievement, then it will be a true gain and a true achievement for the whole world. What is of paramount importance is the individual's attitude. The athlete has to feel that he is establishing a new record not for his own glory but in order to increase the capacity and improve the standard of the world.
The winning athlete has to feel that he is representing all of humanity. Then, with a devoted and soulful heart, if he can soulfully offer his achievement to the Supreme Athlete, his Source, at that time he is doing absolutely the right thing. The Olympic athlete should feel that he is a member of the world-family, and his goal should be his own continuous progress. If he can continually transcend his own achievements, he is bound to achieve satisfaction, for progress is nothing short of satisfaction. The two go always together.
If he cares only for success, then even if he succeeds he will not get abiding joy. For in the twinkling of an eye he will look around and see his achievements being shattered here or elsewhere. But his own progress is like a seed that eventually becomes a sapling and then a giant banyan tree which will give him a continuous sense of satisfaction. When he is progressing, at that time he is growing, he is glowing and, like a river, he is constantly flowing to his Vastness-Source, the Sea of Oneness.
WHAT QUALITIES DO YOU need to bring forward from your inner life while you are running? The first one is enthusiasm. Who embodies enthusiasm? A little child. Who can be more enthusiastic than a child? He enters into a garden and runs here and there, here and there, appreciating everything that he sees. Then, in addition to enthusiasm, you need eagerness. Again, who has more eagerness than a little child? If he plays with a toy, he is so eager, his whole world is the toy. If you can feel that you are a five-year-old or six-year-old child, tiredness will not come into your mind. A child does not know what tiredness is. He knows only enthusiasm and eagerness.
EVERY DAY when you run, you have to feel that it is a golden opportunity to appreciate the One who is inspiring you. Always you have to feel that the Supreme is inspiring you to run this longer than the longest distance. Somebody is begging you, urging you, to do the right thing. Again, when you agree and say, "Yes, I will do it," then that Somebody Himself runs in and through you. When you run, if you offer the prayer, "God, please make me a good runner. I want to make progress this time in my running," then this is a good prayer. At that time God Himself will become a good runner inside you. When you think of the long distance, try to imagine that it is something to play with. Do not think of distance as something you will cover. Do not think that you will be tired, you will be exhausted or you will die. You have to take running as a game you like to play.
AN ATHLETE IS already an artist. An artist is he who has disciplined his life to discover the one Truth that manifests itself in various ways. With this discipline he expresses the beauty of life, reveals the duty of life and brings to the fore the Will of God. So, from the beginning, the artist must have a sense of discipline. The athlete already has a sense of discipline – the discipline of the body. The discipline of the physical consciousness is of paramount importance, for the physical discipline takes a very long time to achieve. Through prayer and meditation we can easily discipline the psychic consciousness, the mental consciousness and the vital consciousness. But it takes a very long time to discipline the physical consciousness, because the physical in us is like a mischievous monkey. It takes a very long time to establish a disciplined peace in our physical consciousness. So the athlete who has achieved this discipline in his outer life is undoubtedly an artist from the spiritual point of view.
THE BEST QUALITY in the spiritual life is not to hesitate once you know your goal. But even if you do not know your goal, it is good to run. God's Compassion will dawn just because you are running, because you are on the move. Once you feel that your goal is not where you are, that your goal is somewhere ahead of you, then you have to run. And if you run, eventually you are bound to reach your goal.
YOU GET MORE satisfaction from your training than from your racing because when you train, you have more oneness with your inner life, which embodies infinite satisfaction. When you race, you are competing with others because you want to defeat them. The challenging spirit that comes in competition quite often suffers from anxiety, worry, doubt, hesitation and despair. When you are just practising, however, you are performing before the most intimate members of your family – your body, vital, mind, heart and soul. In fact, these intimate members of your own being are practising and performing with you, in you and for you. It is totally a family entertainment. While practising, you are consciously working to transcend your capacities.
At that time, you are listening to the message of the ever-transcending Beyond, and this message itself is complete satisfaction. But when you compete against others, you are more concerned with victory than with self-transcendence. Naturally, at that time hesitation, anxiety and doubt have a free access to your heart and mind, and you do not and cannot have satisfaction.
YOU CAN COPE WITH the pressures of winning if, a few days before the race or even just before the start, you can imagine the pleasure of rejoicing in your victory. Imagination is not wishful thinking; it is not a baseless reality. Imagination is reality itself in another world. We bring it down to this world the way we bring down fruits from a tree. To cope with the disappointment of losing, you have to ask yourself whether the mind is disappointed or the heart is disappointed. You will come to realise that it is your mind that is disappointed and not your heart. The mind creates division; the mind is division itself, and division is another name for pain, devastating pain. The heart, on the other hand, creates oneness; in fact, the heart is oneness itself, and oneness is another name for joy, spontaneous joy. When you live in your heart, even if your worst rival wins the race, you will not feel miserable. To your wide surprise, you will find that his joy quite unconsciously and unexpectedly will enter into you and widen your heart. Then you will feel almost the same joy that the winner feels.
THE PHYSICAL STRENGTH or physical capacity that we have is the result of our inner aspiration. That is to say, how we behave inwardly is of supreme importance at the beginning, and then how we behave and react in our outer life. Our inner life of aspiration must come first; then comes our outer life of dedication. They go together, but the one will lead and guide the other. If we are not guided by our inner thoughts, inner goodwill, inner strength, then we will be nowhere in the outer life.
WHEN YOU ARE doing something for the Supreme and you are in the heart, you can work hours and hours, day and night. When we love something or someone, this is what always happens. If you are in the heart, there is a constant supply of energy and sweetness. We all have to develop sweetness. Sweetness is not masculine or feminine. People say that only girls can have sweetness and not men, but sweetness is not something masculine or feminine. Sweetness is a reality which is constantly supplying us with newness and freshness.
When your mind is operating very powerfully, you are not the boss. Your boss is self-doubt, self-criticism, fear, worry and anxiety. But when you run inside your heart, at that time your boss is your love of God; your boss is your surrender to God's Will. If you can keep that feeling in your outer life while you are running, then there will be no problem. When you run, if you can make yourself feel that inside your heart Somebody is running or your heart is running or you are running with your heart, then tiredness disappears, the power of distance disappears. Only the power of oneness, oneness, oneness with God's Will appears.
HOW I WISH all human beings would run faster than the fastest, with unimaginable speed, towards Eternity's ever-transcending Goal. Once we reach the highest transcendental Height with our fastest speed and consciously begin serving our Supreme Pilot at every moment, at that time we can and we shall create an absolutely new creation. At that time there will be only one reality, one song: the song of self-transcendence.
NOW YOU ARE HAPPY because you are the fastest runner. You have received just a drop of outer joy, but this drop makes you feel that you are the happiest person.
Similarly, the people who love you and admire you also feel happy because they have become one with your heart and soul. But when you become the fastest runner, the supreme hero, in the inner world, the joy that you receive is infinite.
At that time you become the happiest person by becoming one with your own infinite Light and Delight. When this happens, the outer happiness that you previously felt fades into insignificance.
WHEN WE THINK OF 700, 1,000 or 1,300 miles, we are reminded of Eternity. We are all running along Eternity's Road, which is at once birthless and deathless. You are the pioneer-hero-runners who will be running along Eternity's Road. Today humanity is loving your hearts and treasuring your lives with utmost joy and utmost pride. Once more, to each runner, on behalf of the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team, I wish to offer my most humble and most soulful gratitude and gratitude.
Each runner is marking the beginning of a new dawn that transcends at every moment its beauty, its light and its divinity. This divinity is embodying world-joy and worldpeace. You are the true and perfect embodiments of world-peace. For that, to each of you my heart bows with boundless love and gratitude.
IF THERE IS ONE SECRET in God's entire creation for seekers like you, if there is one supreme secret for you to cherish in the inmost recesses of your heart at every moment in your life, then it is this: we can do nothing, nothing, nothing; we are absolutely nothing, and we will remain nothing. All of our capacities are flames of the Compassion-Sun of our Beloved Supreme. Because of His unconditional Compassion acting in and through us, we do something to inspire humanity to raise its inner and outer standards. We are grateful to our Beloved Supreme. He is proud of us. Our gratitude and His Pride shall always remain together in His Eternity's Satisfaction-Heart's Satisfaction-Nest.
- Sri Chinmoy's Athletic Achievements - Sri Chinmoy's personal accomplishments.
- The Outer Running And The Inner Running - Sri Chinmoy writes about the practical and spiritual aspects of running.
- The Body: Humanity's Fortress - Sri Chinmoy writes about the relationship between the body, physical fitness and spirituality.
- Run And Smile, Smile And Run - Sri Chinmoy answers questions asked by renowned runners from around the world about physical fitness, running and spirituality.
- The Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team - New Zealand - Running events offered by the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team in New Zealand.
Body-Mind-Spirit has been translated into the following languages:
Espanol: Cuerpo-Mente-Espiritu – The Sri Chinmoy Centre of Spain.
Japanese: Body-Mind-Spirit – The Sri Chinmoy Centre of Japan.